lightreads: a partial image of a etymology tree for the Indo-European word 'leuk done in white neon on black'; in the lower left is (Default)
[personal profile] lightreads
So You Want to Be a Wizard (Young Wizards Series Book 1), Deep Wizardry (Young Wizards Series Book 2), High Wizardry (Young Wizards Series Book 3), A Wizard Abroad (Young Wizards Series Book 4), The Wizard's Dilemma (Young Wizards Series Book 5)

4/5. Adventures of Nita and Kit, pre-teen wizards in suburban New York.

I have been reading this series slowly for six months. I don't really go in for savor when it comes to books – it's just as good going down fast, fight me! – but once in a while I do. The first five are really strong. They're tense, beautifully-imagined stories of young people riding the first wild wave of power, and learning to use it wisely.

The first book is particularly accomplished, which is unusual for a series. It takes Kit and Nita to an alternate, dark AU New York; the creepy creepy image of the nest where the evil sentient helicopter raises its tiny evil helicopter babies has lingered. As has Nita, holding the book of life in which all truths are written, and lifting her pen, and making a mark. The structure serves these books well; Kit and Nita's greatest victory is the thing they accomplish first, and the rest of the books play out the consequences that echo up and down through time and causality.

Note: Apparently Duane has been editing and re-releasing these books with a modern update, since she has been writing them for thirty years and the 80's stuff is very 80's. I read the originals, and do not regret that decision at all. Frankly, I think her insistence on adding, like, cell phones to make these accessible to modern readers is misplaced, and sort of insulting. Are these early books very 80's? Sure. Is it startling to read about parents allowing their pre-teen children to take the train into NYC alone for a day? Uh, yeah. But I think I – and modern teenagers – are capable of understanding.

Date: 2016-06-19 05:02 pm (UTC)
cahn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cahn
Yeah, I mean -- I read stuff like Little Women and Tree Grows in Brooklyn as a kid, and it didn't bother me at all. Kids are pretty good at figuring out that kind of thing.

Although it may be for the best if she updates some of the computer stuff in High Wizardry, as even as a kid reading it I was all "...uh, computers don't actually work like that..." It's my favorite book of the entire series, actually! But not for the computer stuff.

Date: 2016-06-19 11:10 pm (UTC)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu
I'm very curious if she fixed the science howler at the end of _High_. Otherwise except for a later book, see next rock, I'm kind of meh on the concept.

(I personally like the first three the best; the fourth felt too touristy, the fifth... has become retroactively hard, and then the rest were either Problematic or just not stuff that I really care about.)

Date: 2016-06-21 03:14 pm (UTC)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu

For me I think the first three felt like as much as needed to be said, and everything after that was kind of . . . superfluous Which is a risk when you do endings like the first and third books had.

Date: 2016-06-19 11:25 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Photo of baby wearing huge black glasses  (eyeglasses baby)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Reading E Nesbitt was my doorway to the encyclopedia and research in general. What was this country? What were those machines? Who is what class? I posed all these questions to my parents and they showed me how to find out for myself.

So, I'm all for the cognitive dissonance of "contemporary" fiction whose time has passed.

Date: 2016-06-20 01:19 am (UTC)
cyprinella: A mola-mola fish with the caption "hello i am a rocket ship vroom vroom" (sunfish rocketship)
From: [personal profile] cyprinella
Raise your hand if you're surprised Deep is my favorite.

Date: 2016-06-20 02:24 am (UTC)
jadelennox: Senora Sabasa Garcia, by Goya (Default)
From: [personal profile] jadelennox
"shark forever" has now led to my fan casting of Ed as Paul Gross singing the Song of the Twelve as Canadian prairie country.

Okay that was obscene and I wish I'd never said it.

Date: 2016-06-23 07:56 am (UTC)
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
From: [personal profile] labellementeuse
I've been interested to see your thoughts on these books! I could not agree with you more about the update. I think she felt uncomfortable with the internal inconsistency more than with the accessibility thing, but man, comics have being doing the eternal present since forever (which Duane knows perfectly well, having moved in SF&F fandoms for many years). I mean, heck, Harry Potter is set in the very early 90s and its readers in the 2000s don't seem to have much of a problem.

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